I'm currently doing 3x week strength training using New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged workouts which promote full body training approach. My plan is to add running training to it in order to improve cardiovascular endurance, lack of which I feel both in daily activity and during strength workouts. Having a strength training as a first priority, question is how to combine both. Some of my thoughts follow, I would appreciate your help to sort things out.

At the very first stage (first 2-3 weeks, probably), running workouts will probably look more like learning to run rather than any serious load that could affect other training, so I suppose that I could keep 3 strength workouts per week and combine them with 3 short (15-20 minute max) running workouts. Is it better to have 6 days of trainings, with just one type of activity at each day, or to have two workouts per day sometimes in order to get more days of rest?

At some point, I suppose, running could start to affect the recovery between strength workouts and more options arise:

  1. Keep full body strength workouts but reduce load to 2x per week, alternate with 2-3 running workouts with higher intensity than on first stage;
  2. Keep strength workouts at 3x per week, but change to lower/upper body split - train legs 1x per week and upper body 2x per week - should give legs a chance to recover better and compensate the load on upper body;
  3. Leave strength training unchanged but have less running workouts than on first stage - 1-2 per week but with higher intensity.

Obviously, all these options are legit and I should probably try them all, but I'd like to receive some feedback on how this works if someone has tried it, or some other options that I could use, or, also appreciated, some advice on what I definitely should not do.

  • I'm not a runner, and my focus is on strength training, but to keep my Cardio up I my schedule looks something like this. Strength train Mo,Tu,Th,Fr Cardio We, Sa, Active rest day Su (stretch) Jul 9, 2014 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


You have the right idea for the first couple weeks, especially if you have never done much running previously. It will take a little while for running to feel smooth and natural in a manner which allows for longer time and distance runs. Depending on your fitness level, it may make sense to break these early runs into parts, e.g. do 3x5 minutes, as a way of easing into the running routine. If you have the time, adding these runs in on your off days should not hamper your recovery and will allow for you to more fully focus on improving your running ability. Once you find that you can run for 20-30 minutes at around 8:00 mile pace, you will be nearing the point you mentioned where your running could impact your lifts.

When trying to figure out how to mix together your running and lifting, the most important thing is to eat. Eat enough food to compensate for the cardio you are doing, and you should be able to limit its interference with your lifing.

I recommend you do the activity you are focusing on (weightlifting) first, as going into it fresh allows for a full workout, compared to a more tired effort on the second activity. There are exceptions to this order, but the main time I see these is when people are training at a high level for a specific activity, and incorporate a reverse order as a way to hit their muscles in a different way.

In regards to your three options, option 3 will likely be the best for your lifting goals, as the decrease in workouts with the others would make it harder to continue progress. Someone who knows far better than I do how to manage lifting and running, Alex Viada, recommends a routine like this however, which is option 2 with added lifts:

Day 1: ME upper body/bench, light recovery run
Day 2: REST
Day 3: ME lower body, speed/interval work
Day 4: Short race pace run
Day 5: DE upper body, running form drills
Day 6: DE lower body
Day 7: Long slow distance run

Reading his full article can give you a better picture on the do's and don'ts of combining lifting and running, and I've seen his strategies work on many high level athletes. You'll notice he mentions avoiding "junk" miles, or miles without a specific focus or goal, in his article, but at this point in your running development, essentially any mile has a purpose, as these early runs are imperative in developing the basic form and muscles for running.

  • Thanks a lot for useful info! Will go through that article. Jul 9, 2014 at 13:05
  • +1 on the last sentence. It is key to build up slowly because running is an impact exercise, quite different from lifting. The body needs time to adapt and adjust.
    – spudone
    Jul 11, 2014 at 20:44

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